In such uncertain times, one thing is for sure, changes are afoot. Keeping your marketing relevant and making it a catalyst for growth, is therefore more important than ever in 2019. Here’s some pointers from Richard Forsyth, Content Director, Find a Creative Pro to help keep your marketing activity relevant and sustain a healthy pipeline to sales.
1 Always link your marketing to sales
If someone is looking for your service or product, find the easiest, most attractive steps towards sealing that deal, whether that is on your website, social media and advertising etc. Don’t clutter the path to a sale. Your core message needs to be simple, clear and demonstrate benefits. Always ask, ‘what do you want the customer to do next?,’ and then ‘why would they do that?’
2 Know your ideal clients intimately
Have a concept of your ideal client (or customer). Compare it to who your clients are, to see if the majority match up. For a B2B, there will be an aim for a specific size of client. If you are accumulating demanding small businesses with small budgets, is that going to drain your time and stunt your growth? Your marketing needs to appeal to your ideal client.
If you are B2C, create a deck of personality profiles for customer types. Preferences, income, family commitments and brand biases – it can all indicate what they would pay for and why, which could prove important for your marketing. This can also affect other aspects of your business, like product or service development and price-point.
3 Consistent, persistent and quality content
Developing a house-style is important. If you have three different voices from the three people doing your marketing, it may come across as confusing and misaligned. What is ‘on brand’ for you? Source quality images and where you can, create your own to show your business. Keep frequency of marketing high so people get to see your brand regularly. Schedule it, rather than doing it only when you aren’t busy. At Find a Creative Pro we often use content calendars, so our clients know what’s being posted, when it’s posted and why.
4 Make rules around engagement
From the profiling you can work out your Tone of Voice. Is it casual or corporate? What are the redlines, the do’s and don’ts etc. Are there words you want to represent your brand? Work out when is best to contact clients and which channels are best to use. Be objective about whether your perception is accurate to the reality? Don’t waste investment on ineffective channels. There are so many marketing channels that it can be overwhelming and demanding on your resources, so it can pay to be selective and focused.
5 Know your competitors
Use the SWOT model to measure Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for your main competitors and your own business. You’ll soon notice the gaps where you can make a difference in the market. Outsourcing this task is a good option because someone looking in, can often give a fresh, unbiased perspective. You will have unique propositions in your business; find them, understand them and exploit them. It might be simply your branding.
6 Understand the bigger picture
What’s the business climate, trading environment, future shocks and future opportunities? For example, Brexit has been on the minds of many bosses for its potential impacts, both positive and negative. Try to put your business and marketing effort into a wider context. For example, we explain that hiring us on retainer gives you a whole team of experienced creatives for the cost of one employed marketer, a cost-effective benefit in a time of economic uncertainty.
7 Find a way to measure success
These days, data speaks volumes. Not all impacts from marketing are quantifiable but anything digital can be tracked and measured through analytics software, so use it. Set goals and deadlines for them – for example, traffic to increase by 50% in next quarter. Measure ROI and always look into ways to track impacts.
8 Test, monitor and adapt
When something does not work – it’s valuable information to understand why rather than to simply dismiss it. You can test different ideas at the same time on users to see which response works the best.
9 Delight with your service
Inspire loyalty and seed a good reputation by keeping to your service pledges and have a fast, personal and pleasant response to enquiries when they come in. Manners may not cost anything, but they make a huge difference. Monitor your social media posts for responses and always respond with thanks for shares and comments. If you are building customer communities, make sure you are listening to, and interacting with them always. Show them you care.
10 New business is good, repeat is excellent
When chasing new customers, don’t do it at the expense of ignoring your existing ones – they may provide the backbone of your success, bolster your reputation and it’s been said, it takes several times the investment to get a new customer over an existing one. Repeat business means that you must be doing something right.
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